If you want to travel to a particular place, the best approach is to consult a map, or speak with someone who can give you directions. If you plan on reaching your destination, however, you will need reliable information. If your course is clearly charted, and easy to follow, you will achieve success. Many people want to find God, but they don't know precisely how to get to Him. Depending on whom you ask, your directions may vary greatly. For reliable information, we must go to the scriptures. John 14:5-6 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. The words of Jesus are clear and concise. Many people believe in God, and most of them believe in the same God, but not everyone believes that Jesus is the only way to reach God. Yet the bible states this in John 14:6. If Jesus is the way (route to take) to get to God, then we must follow him if we want to reach God. Jesus followed God's plan for making salvation available to mankind. Romans 3:21-25 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; The means by which we can reach God, is through the faith of Jesus Christ. None of us are able to obtain salvation by our own works or goodness. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Jesus was set forth by God to be the payment for all of the sins of mankind. Romans 4:22-25 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Jesus Christ was tortured and crucified. He died and remained dead until he had paid for all of the offenses of man. Then, God raised him from the dead. We have access to God because of the price Jesus paid for us. God credits us with righteousness if we believe the truth set forth in the above verses in Romans. We can not earn our salvation. We can only accept God's gracious gift. The bible summarizes the actions which God requires of us in order to receive salvation. We must also gain an understanding of exactly what salvation means. So far, we have seen a glimpse of God's plan, and how Jesus Christ fulfilled that plan. Jesus said that he is the way (road) to reach God. He also said he is the truth and the life. He is the way because he gave his life and paid for all of our offenses. The truth of what he did and what God did through him is worthy of much study. The life is eternal life, and is part of what Jesus paid for when he suffered and died, and the proof of God's power to give this life came when He raised Jesus from the dead forever! As you will see, it is not enough to believe in the death of Jesus, God requires us to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. We assert that Jesus is Lord, This is basically a verbal covenant or promise. In addition to this, you must truly believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. The bible contains many scriptures, some of which we will read, which will help you become convinced regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you are seeking to know God, you will be filled. God will work with you and enlighten your understanding. When you say that Jesus is Lord, you are committing yourself to a new life. Because of the life which Jesus lived while he was on earth, you are willing to work toward changing your life to be more Christ-like. Don't worry, remember that God knows we are imperfect and that we will falter as we live in this world. Our job is to put forth an effort to become more and more like Jesus Christ in our thoughts and actions. But, being human and having a sin nature, we must rely on the grace of God and the righteousness paid for by Jesus Christ. That's why we must, with our hearts, believe unto righteousness. We try to live our lives according to God's commandments, but when we fall short, we remind ourselves that our righteousness is not based on our own works, but on the accomplished work of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus never sinned. He was tempted just as we are, but he resisted the devil and remained pure in all things. If this is so, how did he become sin for us? He did it by suffering the consequences of sin. Romans 6:23 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Galatians 3:13 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: There are many more scriptures which we will deal with in other studies which elaborate on the conflict between the sin nature of our flesh versus the righteousness we receive when we are saved. But before we complete this study, we will cover some additional verses concerning the resurrection of Jesus, and we will also summarize exactly what happens when we receive salvation. Matthew 12:40 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Jonah 2:10 10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. Matthew 16:21 21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Mark 8:31 31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Matthew 28:5-6 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Colossians 2:12 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Jesus was dead and remained so for three days and three nights. But God raised him from the dead and he will never die again! We must identify with Jesus Christ and accept the new life which God gives us when we believe the scriptures. John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Just as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and was given a spiritual body, so we receive spirit when we confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. It is for this reason that God's gift of salvation is called being born again. John 3:3 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 1 Peter 1:23 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. When you accept God's gracious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, you are born again of God. You receive eternal life. We will have to delve into the details concerning this new birth in another study. As I stated earlier, when you make Jesus your Lord you are accepting the challenge of changing your life. Now, knowing that you are literally receiving a new life seed from God, you can see that you literally are changed within, and your task is to change your lifestyle to coinside with the newness of life which God has placed within you. Before we close this study, we will see exactly what this new seed of life is which God gives us when we are saved. Ephesians 1:12-14 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. To be born again is to receive incorruptible seed, which is everlasting life. This new life is holy spirit. God places His seal with in you. You have holy spirit and are God's child. Our identification with Jesus Christ is complete! Jesus is the only begotten son of God. But by God's abundant love and grace, when we are born again, we too become children of God. Our salvation is much more than a legal substitution. It is a full sharing in the riches which are bestowed upon a member of God's family. No treasure of this world is remotely comparable to the inheritance in God's family. As we search the scriptures, we will begin to see some of the blessings which God, our father has for us. As we learn more about Jesus Christ, we will learn more about ourselves and as we strive to become more like Jesus, we will see our lives changing to become more and more like the new life which God has created within us.
Copyright © 2000 Joseph A. LaFauci. All rights reserved.